Note to Shelf: July 2024

Created on July 1, 2024, 3:24 pm

Last Updated July 2, 2024, 2:26 pm

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Kiera tells us, "Allison Pataki, author of best-selling historical novels featuring real-life women whose lives and work deserve wider recognition and acclaim, turns her eye to the inimitable Margaret Fuller in her latest book, Finding Margaret Fuller. A journalist, adventurer, teacher, advocate, and inspiration to numerous authors, poets, and artists, Fuller was a woman way ahead of her time. The cast includes a who's-who of 19th century literati--Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott, Poe, Hawthorne, and Wordsworth. An enthralling and epic true story."
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Maria exclaims, "The Berlin Letters by Katherine Reay is an exciting novel set in Germany. The city of Berlin wakes up one Sunday morning to discover a massive wall dividing the country. This upends the lives of the many people forever including Luísa Voekler. Luisa’s parents had presumably been killed in an accident, and when she was just three-years-old, she moves from Berlin to Virginia with her grandparents and aunt. As a child, Luisa loved to solve puzzles while playing with her grandfather. What started as a game in her childhood became an invaluable skill when she became a CIA agent. One day while decoding letters from Berlin, she discovers that her father is actually alive and has been imprisoned, all these years, in the notorious East German prison, Stasia. With the help of an old friend, a CIA agent, and a few of his contacts - including a Punk music band - they embarked on a mission to save her father. This is an engrossing, fast-paced story of a family’s pain, division, secrets, spies, lies and love.
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Jill asks, "Looking for a great summer thriller? Trust Her by Flynn Berry not only meets expectations but exceeds them! Northern Irish sisters, Tessa and Marian have settled in Dublin to start new lives after narrowly escaping from the IRA. Enjoying the joys of motherhood, and her copywriting work at the Irish Observer, Tessa’s world is suddenly turned upside down when her past catches up with her. To protect her family, she must track down her former handler in the UK’s Counter Intelligence Agency and try to turn him into an IRA informant. When her sister Marian discovers that the IRA is threatening Tessa, she resolves to help Tessa navigate this dangerous situation. Berry portrays two fierce sisters who will go to any lengths to save their family. This spellbinding, suspense novel makes for an unforgettable ride!"
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An Unfinished Love Story: A Personal History of the 1960’s by Doris Kearns Goodwin portrays an intimate narrative as Richard Goodwin and Doris Kearns Goodwin tackle a final project together: they are going through over 300 boxes of speeches, diaries and mementos from Goodwin’s time as speechwriter, first for his idol John F. Kennedy, then Lyndon Johnson. This remarkable trove, travelling through Goodwin’s bright trajectory in Kennedy’s New Frontier, his assassination, Johnson’s administration, and creating the Great Society, provides a remarkable view of one of the most tumultuous times in American history. Kearns was no bystander. She spent the 60’s in college and, after graduating, as a fellow at the Johnson White House where she established a close relationship with Johnson, close enough that she helped him write his memoirs. Twelve years younger than Goodwin, Kearns and Goodwin did not meet until they were both teaching at Harvard in the early 70’s. When they finally came together and married, both Kearns and Goodwin maintained their allegiances to these two very different men. This intimate memoir provides riveting vignettes of Kennedy, Johnson, Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, Sargent Shriver, Bill Moyers, Jack Valenti, Lady Bird Johnson, and Jackie Kennedy. Most interesting of all is the couple’s renewed assessment of Kennedy and Johnson- as politicians and Presidents.
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Alice shares, "Parasol Against the Axe by Helen Oyeyemi takes you on a wonderful summer adventure! After making a last-minute decision to attend her estranged friend's bachelorette weekend in Prague, Hero finds herself at the whim of a shifting, mischievous city. She spends the weekend touring Prague in whirlwind fashion, whisked around by various companions, and reading a strange book, Paradoxal Undressing, that changes to a completely different story each time she reads it. Oyeyemi weaves a creative and thought-provoking tale, her use of magical realism bringing Prague to life (literally, the city takes form in a number of characters throughout the book). The passages from various versions of the strange book, Paradoxal Undressing, were a highlight for me. Compelling and often strange, I could have read a full novel of each of them.
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